Lack of funding could force Muscatine non-profit to close by end of the month

MUSCATINE, Iowa - For the past 20 years 614 Mulberry Street in Muscatine has been Kas Kelly's second home. "We started with just a few neighborhoods and then all of a sudden we grew up and we have sixteen," said Kelly.

Safe Streets, a non-profit organization, has been a gathering place for people to address violence, crime, and any other issues in their neighborhoods.

"I so believe in this program and the successes that we've had," said Kelly.

The organization has helped neighbors put up street lights through the Muscatine's Power and Water program, it has been a safe place to go for kids after school, and it organized the first community wide block party.

Throughout the years, the organization has received federal grants, state and local funding, but for the past few years Kelly has had to use her own money. "It's my computer, my printer and the desk was donated," said Kelly.

Even thought the building she runs out of was donated by the city, she can no longer afford to keep it going.

"I need food on the table and a roof over my head and my family agrees with me," said Kelly.

The organization has helped Lester Chandler, who lives next door to Safe Streets. "She's inspired me to keep moving on," he said.

It's been a place for him to go during the good and bad times and Chandler was crushed to hear Kelly could no longer be there.

"I really wish to god that the people around here will get together to see if they can help her to stay," said Chandler.

For Kelly, she says she'll need around $50,000 a year to run efficiently.

"I know it's tight, but I would like to hope that someone would be able to come and say here try for another year" said Kelly.

If she doesn't get donations by the end of the month, the doors will have to close but she'll always be willing to give a helping hand.

"I'm not going away, I'll still be in Muscatine, I'll be available, I don't give up easily, they'll know where to reach me," said Kelly.

Safe Streets also helped to start the Muscatine Network Consortium, drawing business leaders and job seekers from across the state together to network. Kelly says that program will continue.